Pi is using resonant induction but has developed an efficient beam forming algorithm that can run on a microcontroller. This is allowing up to five devices (four phones and a tablet) to be charged simultaneously at a distance of up to 12 inches from a single base station, something that has not been possible with the current Qi charging systems such as the new iPhone X. The closer to the 20W basestation, the faster the charging, and the speed drops with distance.
CTO Lixin Shi developed the beam forming algorithm at MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) but the company is now based in San Bruno, California, and has raised $3.5m.
The team won't say when the technology will be ready for launch except that it will ship for under $200 in 2018.